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THE ABC BOOK CHALLENGE – J, K

I’ve been so busy working on revisions that this challenge has been on the back burner. Let’s play a little catch-up.

Not much for “J” fantasy novels, sorry to say. There’s James and the Giant Peach, which is aimed at children, and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell, which — while I found the writing sound and the premise intriguing — ultimately became a chore to read [it’s over 800 pages].

So, on to the letter K.

Favorites

THE KINGFOUNTAIN SERIES, Jeff Wheeler.

This is a six-book series: The Queen’s Poisoner, The Thief’s Daughter, The King’s Traitor, The Hollow Crown, The Silent Shield, The Forsaken Throne. Wheeler excels in his depiction of Ceredigion: a medieval world of magic, intrigue, betrayal, and love. If you know a bit about the War of the Roses and Richard III, the books will have more meaning, but it’s not a deal-breaker. A good binge read.

KUSHIEL’S DART, Jacqueline Carey.

This first book in a trilogy tells the story of Phédre nó Delaunay, a courtesan and spy who discovers a treacherous conspiracy. Compelling and frankly sexual — be warned, there’s a pain as pleasure element — this is definitely an adult fantasy. But it has so much more: well-drawn, complex characters; a heart-warming story; and wonderful world-building. A good choice for readers who enjoy epic journeys and politically intriguing fantasies with lots of twists.

Want to Read

TO KILL A KINGDOM, Alexandra Christo.

Princess Lira is a siren who hunts princes and collects their hearts. Prince Elian wants to rid the sea of all sirens forever. Can love be far behind? Supposedly a very dark retelling of The Little Mermaid,.

 

That’s it for now. As always, if you have any recommendations, please pass them along.

Thanks for reading.

THE ABC BOOK CHALLENGE – I

Intriguing books for your pleasure.

FAVORITES

INCARCERON, Catherine Fisher.

A prison that’s alive? Count me in. Finn, a 17-year-old boy born into a cut-throat world of criminals, finds a key that allows him to communicate with a girl on the outside, and puts together a desperate escape plot while attempting to unravel the secrets of his past. This fantastic steampunk-ish tale can be a bit confusing at times but Fisher has created an amazing world.  Sequel is Sapphique.

INCARNATE, Jodie Meadows.

Don’t you just love this cover? In a world where people have reincarnated for thousands of years, Ana is  ‘newsoul’ – without a past, without memories, without friends from past lives. Sounds harmless, but because Ana was born, another soul vanished forever (it never came back to life again) and that soul was her mother’s best friend. A journey of self-discovery with romantic elements. First in a trilogy.

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE, Anne Rice.

The classic tale of how Louis became a vampire in New Orleans and his love/hate relationship with Lestat, the one who turned him into a monster. IWTV brought a new dimension to the genre, showing the undead with depth and feeling; Louis certainly runs the gamut of emotions as he struggles with immortality and his desires. Dark, macabre, haunting. The best of the Vampire Chronicles.

WANT TO READ

IGNITE, Kaitlyn Davis.

Reviews are mixed on GOODREADS–many see it as Twilight fanfic–but it includes a new mythology of how vampires came to be, so I may give it a try.

Any recommendations?

Thanks for reading.

 

THE ABC BOOK CHALLENGE – H

Harrowing and humorous stories.

FAVORITES

HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE, Diana Wynne Jones. An enchanting novel about Sophie, who’s stuck in a mediocre life until irks the Witch of the Waste and ends up in an old woman’s body. Breaking this curse means dealing with the wizard Howl–a hoot of a character–and haggling with a fire demon. An engaging, fun read. Two other books follow, but only feature Sophie and Howl in minor roles.

THE HUSBAND TEST, Betina Krahn. Eloise is a novice whose independent ways are taxing Mother Superior’s patience. Peril, Earl of Whitmore, is a master warrior, but his estate is in disarray because of a curse and he needs a wife to break it. The abbess sends Eloise with Peril to “judge” him and figure out who at the Convent of the Brides of Virtue will best suit him. Their romantic journey is a delight, although Peril may strike some as too aloof. Give it at try and decide for yourself.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE, Margaret Atwood. I haven’t seen the Hulu series, so I can’t compare the two. This is a chilling dystopian tale about the Republic of Gilead, where handmaidens belong to their “masters” and are expected to reproduce. Atwood isn’t the easiest author to read–she foregoes quotation marks, for example–and the pace can be slow, but this book is a classic you shouldn’t miss.

THE HOLLOW KINGDOM, Claire B. Dunkle. I enjoyed this book so much I wrote to the author and received a lovely note in response. Kate is taken by the goblin king, Marak, to be his wife, which sounds like a familiar trope, and might bother modern sensibilities. But Dunkle is such a lovely writer you can’t help but be swept up in the tale. Kate is intelligent and quick-witted, Marak an irreverent charmer. And the goblin kingdom, far from expectations, has a beauty of its own. The first, and best, of a trilogy.

WANT TO READ

HUNTED, Meagan Spooner. To save her father, Yeva hunts a strange creature into a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that she’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast? Another retelling of the classic tale.

Any others you’d recommend?